I blame Dance Moms.
She came to this conclusion after watching several episodes of the show.
Also she came to the conclusion that I have failed her. I should have dragged her to dance, gymnastics, soccer, something, and set her up for success. No amount of talent or passion can possibly make up for the headstart that all those other kids have enjoyed. It really doesn’t matter that she didn’t have a proclivity for dance or gymnastics or soccer or the theater. I should have decided. I should have chosen one thing. I should have MADE HER.
It pains me to hear this. It pains me more that I’m sure there are parents out there who might agree with her. Hell, my 11 year old self might have agreed with her too.
But I’ve spent the last year proving that 11 year old version of myself (and her wrong). When the voice in my head said it was too late to start a career in television production, something I’ve always really wanted to do, I told that voice to screw off.
It’s amazing what you can do when you ignore that voice.
I think it all comes down to two things. Talent, and passion.
So I asked my daughter (and my Facebook followers) what they would choose, if they had to pick one or the other. Better to have passion without talent or talent without passion?
It’s a no brainer for me. Passion always wins.
God-given talent (a good voice, the ability to tell a story, awesome hand-eye coordination, etc) is a gift. An awesome gift. But it doesn’t replace hard work. Many things that are recognized as talent, can be learned as a skill. “Talent”, in the case of many of these parent driven kids, is really the result of a lot of hard work.
Passion cannot give you the gifts you might be born with, but it can come close. Passion can generate talent because passion gives you the will to acquire the skill. Passion supplies you with the desire and the need to pursue something.
Something else… passion is not a product of the ego. Passion doesn’t care if you look stupid, make mistakes or or win.
So no disrespect to talent, but talent without passion is a long walk off a short pier. It’s a dusty trophy sitting on the shelf, with a chunk broken off and missing.
I may have failed in my daughter’s eyes but I have succeeded in protecting the one thing that no amount of passion or talent can ever get back for her once it is gone.
Maybe she’ll never forgive me. Maybe she’ll wait till she turns 40, like me, and realize that the only thing holding her back from pursuing her dreams is her own fear of failure.
Whenever she is ready to pursue something with passion, I will be there to cheer her on. I will be passionate about her pursuit.
In the meantime, I still kind of lack the passion it takes to be a Dance Mom.